The New Wave of Learning & Development (L&D) in 2022

The New Wave of Learning & Development (L&D) in 2022
In recent years, Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) have become an important part of the organizational discourse in building a successful team and culture.

The existential belief in progressive organizations, about the purpose of the Learning & Development (L&D) function, is to make a bridge that connects the goals of an employee with the goals of the organization. But, with the intense impact of the VUCAD factors globally (aggravated by the Covid 19 pandemic) that is spurring a change of goals and strategies by organizations, the workforce will also need to evolve.

The World Economic Forum’s 2020 report stated that due to the global VUCAD factors, 85 million jobs will be displaced, but 97 million new jobs will be created by 2025. This change will demand the reshaping of L&D strategies to make employees and organizations future-ready. Our association and interaction with experts in the field reveal the following top 5 trends in L&D in 2022.

Performance and Data-Driven

An HBR article in 2019 inferred that the many erstwhile L&D practices were ineffective and not designed for real-life organizational situations. This was further validated by Gartner in a 2020 survey of theirs’ which revealed that 70% of employees said they didn’t have the required level of expertise to do their jobs. It is noteworthy that despite being a little dated the above data still has many merits for 2022.

As learning becomes more and more focussed on enhancing productivity, as a mandate from the multiple business stakeholders, the L&D managers will continue to ensure that L&D activities and initiatives are driven by data and analytics pertaining to skills gaps and performance which are real-time and relevant.

They will need to tie learning solutions back to the business’s goals. And to create a positive business impact, the need and the focus of L&D to produce tangible results will continue. 

A Hybrid Ecosystem: ILT, VILT & Digital Micro-Learning

Covid 19 put, almost the entire humanity under house arrest. We migrated from an office environment to a work-from-home environment. This is when tech-led online learning gained prominence.

While online learning proved to be a blessing, it also manifested its limitations pertaining to learning effectiveness and learner engagement. Two straightforward reasons behind this being digital fatigue and the lack of organic human interaction with the facilitator and peers resulting in poor learning experience.

In fact, Growthsqapes’ own survey in June 2021 reported that more than 70% of the respondents wanted to come back to a physical classroom if given a choice. Ergo, while technology-led learning will continue to grow, instructor-led in-person classroom training will return with a bang in 2022.

Initiatives pertaining to some serious competence development will demand an in-person classroom experience in the interest of learning effectiveness and experience. And with companies adapting hybrid workplaces, an ecosystem of blended learning comprising ILT, VILT, and digital gamification-based microlearning will become the status quo. 

More Collaboration of L&D and D&I  

In recent years, Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) have become an important part of the organizational discourse in building a successful team and culture. Creating an environment (more so in the wake and aftermath of the Covid 19 Pandemic) that is inclusive to employees of all genders, backgrounds, and identities is a critical success factor.

As per recent data from McKinsey, business organizations that have more diverse workforces perform better financially than those which have homogenous teams. The same data also suggests that organizations with robust D&I programs are more likely to be viewed by the markets as industry leaders with high-caliber talent.

As the number of organizations that have been realizing the above has steadily increased, the D&I teams have worked with L&D to deliver joint training. This will become a higher priority for L&D professionals as 64% of global L&D professionals surveyed by LinkedIn have made D&I a priority for 2022. 

Focus on EI and Wellbeing

For the last 18 months, the Coronavirus has bettered the lives of employees. Almost everyone faced grave challenges pertaining to not only physical health but also mental health. Now that the virus seems to be slowly losing its lethal prowess, 2022 will be a special year in the sense that many people will start returning to work from office.

In the new, post-Covid 19 pandemic world order, what will be necessarily needed is a more humane approach to work and care for employees. Organizations and leaders will have to get the care back at work and strive to be more humane at core to ensure productivity. This will need a focus on emotional intelligence and employee well-being.

2022 will see a re-emergence of learning structures designed with authentic leadership, resilience, emotional intelligence, and wellbeing in mind across hierarchies.

Personalized On-demand Learning

With the advent and proliferation of online learning, a whole new array of learning has opened up. That assemblage is like an on-demand Netflix-style learning library that is compatible with the way our brain works.

A German psychologist, Hermann Ebbinghaus who discovered the “The Forgetting Curve” showed that for most humans If new information isn’t applied, we forget about 75% of it after just 6 days. Also, instead of a rigid schedule, when employees get to choose what they want to learn and when they want to learn, the learning motivation is higher.

Repetition of learning leads to retention and its consequent application. Personalization offers the freedom of choice and time. While personalization of learning has already started, 2022 will see a further drop in uniform learning or the one-size-fits-all approach for a customized one-size-fits-one approach. Digital learning will greatly contribute to personalization.

Our world has undergone rapid change in a short time. The repercussions of this change are still ongoing and will be long-lasting. L&D will need to play its role of being an enabler of success, even more strongly, and focus more on productivity instead of quantity of work.


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